Recent generations of performers have brought a broad range of influences to bear on traditional Newfoundland music. Jim Fidler studied classical music as a child, played reggae through the 1980s and early '90s and currently records original songs that combine the sound of Newfoundland with sounds from a variety of other cultures.
Born in Pennsylvania and raised in St. John's, Fidler has been blind since the age of nine. He first came to prominence as a drummer, singer and songwriter for Pressure Drop, which became one of Eastern Canada's most popular reggae bands.
His first solo recording, Gypsy, was released in 1995 and won immediate acclaim for its rich musical range. The album seamlessly blends the traditional sounds of Newfoundland and Ireland with flourishes and instruments reminiscent of Eastern Europe, Spain, Jamaica and North Africa. His second release, Friendly Fire (2000), continues in the same vein, incorporating western pop arrangements, Arabic chants, electronic soundscapes, Gaelic lyrics and a wide range of percussion instruments. Folk music critics around the world have heralded both albums.